May 15, 2020

Today’s show is both a fascinating story and a call to action. We’re posting it as a bonus episode because my guest, Andrew McCormack of the Bank for International Settlements, is sharing an invitation to innovators throughout the world to apply to compete in the G20’s global TechSprint -- and entries are due in just two weeks!

Our regular listeners know I’m an advocate for the regulatory TechSprint concept, which was invented by the UK Financial Conduct Authority as a method of innovation created by regulators, for regulators. The FCA took a problem-solving tool that is ubiquitous in the tech world -- the hackathon -- and adapted it to the needs and practical constraints of financial regulatory bodies. A sprint brings together regulatory and financial experts with software engineers and designers, and has them build technology solutions for intractable regulatory challenges. (Let me note that the FCA has issued a guide to conducting TechSprints, and also that we at AIR will soon release a practical manual on how to organize one.)

Andrew, who is the Centre Head of the BIS Innovation Hub in Singapore, explains that this new initiative builds on the FCA’s work. The new sprint is backed by a stellar set of global partners, including the G-20, the Bank for International Settlements, the Monetary Authority of Singapore, and the Regtech for Regulators Accelerator. I’ll let Andrew tell you about you who all the organizers are, what they’re doing, and why. He will also share the three problem statements that the sprint will solve for, distilled from input offered by regulators throughout the world.

This G20 TechSprint is a fully global competition. Innovators from all over the world can apply to join in it.  And regulators from throughout the world will participate in a summer session to learn from the work underway by the competing teams and to help shape the evolving solutions.

Winners in each of the three categories will receive a $50,000 cash prize as well as recognition at the Singapore Fintech Festival late this year. And I’m delighted to say that I have been asked to serve as a judge in the competition.

In our conversation, Andrew explains that the application deadline was extended this week from May 20 to May 27 -- but he warns that there will be limited slots and advises against waiting to the last minute! I hope we have many Barefoot Innovation listeners who will sign up to solve these enormous problems.

And if you are a regulator interested in attending the July Virtual workshop, please contact the BIS at

The COVID-19 pandemic is spotlighting the need for modernized technology in governments everywhere, including for financial regulation. Regulators need better data, and they need better, more powerful, more flexible tools. I think the G20 TechSprint can be a breakthrough for them, opening a path toward a vastly stronger system.

So, please, apply now to compete!

More on Andrew

Andrew joined the BIS in April 2020 as the Centre Head of the Singapore Innovation Hub. Prior to the BIS, Andrew was Chief Information Officer & VP of Payment at Payments where he was responsible for technology strategy and payment system operations. Under his leadership, Payments Canada embraced cloud technology, launched API services and led the ground-breaking blockchain research (a.k.a Project Jasper) alongside the Bank of Canada.  Andrew has an MBA from the Ivey Business School and Bachelor of Computer Science from Carleton University.

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